- The Washington Times - Monday, January 20, 2003

LIBYA
U.S. seeks showdown on human rights leadership
NEW YORK The United States plans to demand a vote when the U.N. Commission on Human Rights chooses a new chairman today, determined to show its opposition to the country in line for the position Libya and force other nations to take a stand.
Libya is unfit for the prominent post because it has an "atrocious" human rights record, said Richard Grenell, spokesman for U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte.
Canada was expected to side with Washington, but diplomats said some European members were planning to abstain, worried that too many votes against Libya would poison the atmosphere on the 53-member commission.

EGYPT
Bin Laden lashes out at 'crusader coalition'
CAIRO A statement purportedly written by Osama bin Laden urges Muslims to stop fighting each other and unite against the "crusader coalition" that is attacking the Islamic world, said excerpts published yesterday in a London-based Arab newspaper.
Asharq Al-Awsat printed portions of a 26-page statement it said was written and signed by bin Laden. A journalist said the statement was mailed from an Islamic source in London with close links to a Pakistan-based Islamic research center known for its ties to al Qaeda.
"The current situation Muslims are living in requires a deployment of all efforts to fight the Islamic battle against the crusader coalition, which has revealed its real, evil intentions," the letter said.

SOUTH AFRICA
Assurance is accepted after Zimbabwean slur
JOHANNESBURG South Africa said yesterday it had accepted a reassurance from Zimbabwe that vitriolic remarks made by a minister were not intended as a slur on South Africa's president or people.
Zimbabwean Information Minister Jonathan Moyo reportedly called South Africans "filthy" and "uncouth" after a newspaper here published an expose after following the minister on what it called an extravagant spending spree in South Africa.
Foreign affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said South Africa had requested an explanation for the comments. "We have noted and accepted the reassurance in as far as it relates to President [Thabo] Mbeki, the government and the people of South Africa," he said yesterday.

ISRAEL
Court date set for Barghouthi trial
TEL AVIV A Tel Aviv district court will begin hearing testimony on April 6 in the trial of Palestinian uprising leader Marwan Barghouthi, who is being prosecuted by Israel on suspicion of his involvement in the killings of 26 persons.
The court cleared the way yesterday for the Barghouthi trial to go ahead by saying that Israel had jurisdiction to prosecute Mr. Barghouthi and that evidence would be presented from April 6.
State Prosecutor Devora Chen said she would call about 100 witnesses before the court, which would hold 14 all-day sessions.

TURKEY
Kurdish rebels talk war as Iraq conflict looms
TUNCELI Kurdish guerrillas yesterday threatened to abandon peace and take up arms once again after 12 rebels died in clashes with the Turkish military earlier this week.
Turkey fears a return to violence in its troubled southeast, where more than 30,000 people have died in a conflict that has largely subsided since the 1999 capture of guerrilla leader Abdullah Ocalan. Most of the rebels have since withdrawn into northern Iraq.
Turkey fears a U.S.-led attack on neighbor Iraq will spark a return of Kurdish fighters now holed up in the mountains of northern Iraq.
Turkish troops backed by helicopter gunships clashed Wednesday with Kurdish guerrillas about 177 miles from the Iraqi border.


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